Why the bishop of Dallas sheltered a family on Ebola watch
Dallas, Texas, Oct 21, 2014 / 02:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News) - When a Texas family feared to have contracted the Ebola virus was recently placed under quarantine, they found refuge from Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, who offered them shelter in the name of Christ.
“I was asked by reporters this morning why I said yes to the request from Mayor Mike Rawlings and Judge Clay Jenkins to offer housing for Ms. Troh and her family,” stated Bishop Farrell in an October 20 blog post, saying that he asked himself “what would Jesus do?”
“I knew that we had to help. Certainly, the Catholic Church has a long period of helping those in need, and Ms. Troh and her family were and remain in need.” Although reporters questioned why the diocese would offer refuge to non-Catholics, Bishop Farrell explained that “we don’t help because someone is Catholic, we help because we are Catholic and that is what we are called to do.”
Ms. Louis Troh was the fiancée of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from the outbreak earlier this month. Duncan, who had arrived in the U.S. from Liberia, was being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where two nurses who had cared for him were then reported to be infected with Ebola.
Troh, along with her teenage son and two adult nephews, was placed in a 21-day quarantine. After having remained symptom free throughout the designated time period, officials have now determined that they have not contracted the virus.
City officials Mayor Mike Rawlings and Judge Clay Jenkins had asked for the assistance of Bishop Farrell in securing a safe and secret location for Troh and her family’s quarantine.
Bishop Farrell said that he did “pause to think of all the possibilities,” but soon after offered the Conference and Formation Center in Oak Cliff for their use. Troh and her family stayed in a remote area on the grounds, and are now free from the quarantine period.
Because those under quarantine did not develop Ebola, the property will not need to be professionally decontaminated, the bishop told reporters at an Oct. 20 press conference, although the center will be cleaned.
In his blog post, Bishop Farrell apologized for any inconvenience that might have occurred during the quarantine to people who had planned events or retreats at the center.
“I hope you will understand that this was an emergency humanitarian aid situation that had to take priority,” he stated, offering special gratitude to Deacon Jessie Olivarez who is helping clean the center so it can fully resume its regular functioning operation.
“I visited and prayed with Ms. Troh this morning and she expressed her profound gratitude to the diocese for providing shelter for her family,” the Dallas bishop said.
He asked that the faithful “continue to pray for her and her family as they continue to mourn the loss of Mr. Duncan and prepare to find a permanent residence and move on with their lives.”